Archive for August 28th, 2013

August 28, 2013

The trouble with philosophy

by Neil Rickert

I’ve been clear that I look at things differently from the way many philosophers do.  In this post I’ll try to say something about that difference.

In my experience, if you say something critical of philosophy, then philosophers will come out of the woodwork to defend their discipline.  I want to be clear that I am not attacking philosophy.  Rather, I am explaining what I find unsatisfying about it.

I often see some sort of criticism of philosophy coming from scientists.  I do not claim to speak for all scientists, but perhaps what I find unsatisfying will at least hint at what some other critics don’t like.

The trouble with philosophy

is that philosophers do it so badly.  I don’t know of a good definition of “philosophy”, and I suppose that if we take “philosophy” to mean “that which philosophers do,” then it is pretty much impossible for them to do it badly.  However, I take philosophy to be dealing with a range of topics that are related to thought, reasoning, being human.  And it is in that sense that I find philosophy unsatisfying.  It seems too much driven by tradition, and it seems to avoid what I see as important.

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